It may be pumpkin weather, but Tour 2 of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons’ magnificent warts-and-all musical bio, Jersey Boys, lights up the Durham Performing Arts Center stage like the Fourth of July. Broadway Series South first brought this Broadway hit to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium from June 24 to July 18, 2009, but the stellar cast for the second coming of Jersey Boys may boast even more candle power as they trace The Four Seasons’ evolution from a cover band, singing on street corners and playing seedy bars in mob-infested Newark, NJ, to an international super-group and one of America’s answers to the British Invasion of the mid-1960s.
Colby Foytik is terrific as the group’s cocky original organizer: part-time hoodlum, part-time lead guitarist, and all-around louse Tommy DeVito. Brandon Andrus is a comic delight as laconic bass guitarist Nick Massi (nee Nicholas Macioci), Brad Weinstock hits all the high notes as lead vocalist Frankie Valli (nee Francesco Stephen Castelluccio), and Jason Kappus adds a personable performance as keyboardist and songwriter Bob Gaudio — the final ingredient that fueled the group’s meteoric ascension to the top of the charts.
Whether performing The Four Seasons’ number-one hits — including “Sherry” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (both in 1962), “Walk Like a Man” (1963), “Rag Doll” (1964), and “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)” (1975) — with brio or tugging at the audience’s heart strings with Franki Valli’s chart-topper, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (1967), which peaked at number two, Messrs. Foytik, Andrus, Weinstock, and Kappus give a solid-gold performance, which rocketed DPAC patrons to their feet at the end of last Friday night’s show.
Also creating unforgettable characters are Barry Anderson as The Four Seasons’ producer and Bob Gaudio’s songwriting partner Bob Crewe, Christopher Messina as excitable young Four Seasons hanger-on Joe Pesci, Natalie Gallo as Frankie’s fiery first wife Mary Delgado, Rachel Schur as his musically gifted but emotionally troubled daughter Francine, Kaleigh Cronin as his Frankie’s long-suffering girlfriend Lorraine, and Thomas Fiscella as suave gangster chieftain Gyp DeCarlo.
Dodger Theatricals et al.’s rousing rendition of Jersey Boys, with its toe-tapping tunes by Bob Gaudio, lively lyrics by Bob Crewe, and R-rated script by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, is not just another jukebox musical. Nor is it a hagiography of the 2000 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Jersey Boys is a gritty backstage musical, which earns its R rating for “Sopranos”-like language alone, but also includes violence, sexual situations, and drug and alcohol abuse. Yet even my Fundamentalist friends love Jersey Boys, because it is — first and foremost — a superlative show that will send Durham Performing Arts Center patrons out into the surrounding downtown Durham parking lots singing, whistling, and humming the greatest hits of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Don’t miss it!
SECOND OPINION: Nov 5th Raleigh, NC BroadwayWord.com Raleigh review by Larissa Mount: http://raleigh.broadwayworld.com/article/BWW-Reviews-JERSEY-BOYS-Wows-Durham-20121105 and May 15th interviews with Matt Bay, Alayna Gallo, and Kevin Crewell and Oct. 30th interview with Rick Elice, all conducted by Larissa Mount, click http://raleigh.broadwayworld.com/article/BWW-Interviews-The-JERSEY-BOYS-Talk-Durham-Engagement-this-Fall-20120515 and http://raleigh.broadwayworld.com/article/BWW-Interviews-JERSEY-BOYS-Writer-Rick-Elice-Discusses-the-Shows-Beginnings-20121030, respectively; April 27th Durham, NC Herald-Sun preview and Nov. 3rd review, both by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, click http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/18376509/article-‘Jersey-Boys’-gives-DPAC-sneak-peek? and http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/20707655/article-‘Jersey-Boys’-review–Charisma–grit-and-great-songs?, respectively (Note 1: You must register to read this article); Nov. 1st Raleigh, NC WRAL-TV interview with Brad Weinstock and Colby Foytik, conducted by Bill Leslie: http://www.wral.com/entertainment/video/11726150/#/vid11726150; Oct. 9th Chapel Hill, NC Daily Tar Heel preview by Elizabeth Baker: http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2012/10/jersey-boys-teach-entrepreneurship. (Note 2: To read Triangle Arts & Entertainment’s online version of the Triangle Theater Review’s Oct. 30th preview by Robert W. McDowell, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/2012/10/oh-what-a-show-jersey-boys-will-rock-durham-performing-arts-center-for-24-shows-oct-30-nov-18/.)
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents JERSEY BOYS at 7: 30 p.m. Nov. 6-8, 8 p.m. Nov. 9, 2 and 8 p.m. Nov. 10, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 11, 7: 30 p.m. Nov. 13-15, 8 p.m. Nov. 16, and 2 and 8 p.m. Nov. 17, and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at DPAC, in the American Tobacco District, 123 Vivian St., Durham, North Carolina 27701.
TICKETS: $24-$153 (including fees), except $24 Student Rush Tickets (sold day of performance) for seats in Row P of the Balcony.
DPAC Box Office: 919-680-ARTS (2787) and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115558/1551009.
GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-281-0587, Groups@DPACnc.com, http://www.dpacnc.com/events/group_services/broadway_group_pricing, or http://www.dpacnc.com/events/group_services/online-groups.
VIDEO PREVIEW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H78l0ArPEiY.
DIRECTIONS: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan_your_visit/getting_here. PARKING: http://www.dpacnc.com/plan_your_visit/parking_guide.
The Musical: http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/ (official website), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_Boys (Wikipedia), and http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?ID=394780 (Internet Broadway Database).
The Tours: http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/tour/ (official web page).
Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons: http://www.frankievallifourseasons.com/ (official website), http://gilgweb.com/initial.html (official unofficial website), http://rockhall.com/inductees/the-four-seasons (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Seasons_(band) (Wikipedia).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.